Chapter 15 - "battery juice"

I’ve been to Disney World before, so naturally I’ve visited a replicated Western town complete with a saloon, a bank, a hotel, a general store, etc. But I was completely caught with my pants down as it relates to the rush of emotions I felt when we coasted into the heart of this little cowboy town. Guys were crossing the street with boots and spurs and tight Wrangler pants and belt buckles the size of drink coasters. And they weren’t wearing costumes, this was their everyday wardrobe. They sauntered forward as if they hadn’t a care in the world. It was a perfect picture of what I think of when I think of the word, “mosey”. There wasn’t any rush. There wasn’t anything terribly pressing. Nobody had to get somewhere. It wasn’t a ghost town, but you start to understand why people use that phrase to describe places that aren’t teeming with traffic congested with the commotion of commerce.

People were standing on the sidewalks starring at us as we glided into town, diesel engine idling with a guttural racket that is music to a rednecks ears. It was almost as if the onlookers knew that strangers were in town and were making plans as vigilantes to keep a watchful eye on our whereabouts and goings on.

Everyone would wave at you…literally everyone. It didn’t matter that they didn’t know you, if you had taken the pains to get to their obscure little town, the least they could do was welcome you with a bit of hospitable gesticulation. Some would grab the tip of their cowboy hat, some would nod with a subtle closing of the eyes, some would release their grip on their steering wheel momentarily lifting their callused fingers and bending their swollen knuckles, and some would wink as they tilted their head off to the side. It wasn’t like walking into Cheers in the heart of Boston where everyone knows your name, but it was a cross-cultural experience nonetheless. They didn’t know our names, but they acknowledged our presence, something communities nowadays don’t do, and furthermore, don’t know how to do anyone. It’s amazing how big of a wave is created by a simple wave…the kind of wave you catch that carries your heart to shore.

Doug started pointing at people and places, rehearsing memories and misadventures, and retelling stories filled with sorrow and spirit. I was taking in the locale with all the photographic memory I could muster. I was trying to burn images into my brain so that I could retrieve them from the rolodex of recollections when I needed to draw on them for strength. Moments like this are more than events, they are experiences that put juice back in my battery…and that’s what life had been lately, a battery of batterings. I needed these experiences to lodge themselves within the immaterial part of my being so that I could call upon them in a time of dire need.

As we took a left turn and left the little epicenter of life in the downtown area, we strolled into a little neighborhood where the realtor lived that Doug had been working with to sell his property. There were animal skins on the sides of sheds, Elk antlers hanging over garage doors, and pickup trucks from the late seventies in driveways (without rust I might add).

As we pulled into the driveway of the realtor’s house, he waved at us from his dinning room table. You could see his big smile through the spacious bay window. I thought to myself, “I can’t wait to meet my first Augustan native.”

Comments

tess said…
oh my gosh, i love the image..it instantly makes me want to go there just so I can say I've been to a one horse town!
Greg said…
"That's a great post. Here's a website on developing
photographic memory. Check out the tips that they offer. They worked pretty well for me. It's at http://www.photographic-memory.org"

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